Ratepayer Advocate Advisory Group Holds First Meeting
Group Will Develop Recommendations on Role and
|LOS ANGELES- Members of the Ratepayer Advocate Advisory Group held their first working meeting yesterday afternoon in an effort to develop recommendations on the role and responsibilities of a ratepayer advocate position to provide neutral expert analysis and advice to policy makers and the public regarding water or power rate actions proposed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP.) The advisory group joined LADWP Chief Administrative Officer Cecilia K. T. Weldon for initial discussions as members set out to establish their recommendations.
On June 10th, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved the establishment of an independent ratepayer advocate and recommended the formation of an expert panel to provide input and recommendations on how the position should be structured to ensure maximum effectiveness and neutrality. The advisory group is comprised of Kristin Eberhard, Legal Director, Western Energy and Climate Projects, Natural Resources Defense Council; Chuck Ray, Vice-Chair, Neighborhood Councils – LADWP Memorandum of Understanding Oversight Committee; Carol E. Schatz, President & Chief Executive Officer, Central City Association of Los Angeles, and Stuart Waldman, President, Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA.)
The group is charged with defining the specifics of the ratepayer advocate’s office and function, including structure, role and responsibility as well as how the office will be funded and staffed and where it should be located to ensure complete neutrality. The members are committed to developing their recommendations within the next 30-45 days so that a ratepayer advocate office may be established as soon as possible.
“I’m pleased that LADWP is taking proactive steps to engage customers, enhance transparency and incorporate a third-party analysis of its investment decisions,” said Ms. Eberhard.
“I’m hopeful that this effort by the LADWP and its Board of Commissioners will lead to an independent entity that will provide greater transparency into the financial structure and governance of a major asset of the people of Los Angeles, their Department of Water and Power,” said Mr. Ray.
“This is an important first step to assure transparency and fair rates at LADWP,” said Ms. Schatz.
“VICA is pleased to be included in shaping the ratepayer advocate role with LADWP,” said Mr. Waldman. “We will carefully consider the scope of this office and how it can best fit into the current oversight structure that already exists within the City of Los Angeles.”
The central responsibility of a ratepayer advocate is to review, analyze and provide expert independent advice to policy makers regarding utility rates and proposed rate changes, and to provide ongoing review and analysis regarding rate-related and budgetary issues.